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London Met University await UKBA decision - Updated: license revoked

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UPDATE: As of 8pm on Wednesday 29th August 2012, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has revoked London Metropolitan University’s Highly Trusted Status for sponsoring international students, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Malcolm Gillies has announced. The University has set up a Help Centre to support and advise students. Call +44 (0) 20 7133 4141 to seek advice.

Also find more information on the UKBA Home Office page about what to do next.

International students at London Metropolitan University have been left in utter limbo after a newspaper reported that its UKBA license to sponsor Tier 4 student visas had been revoked. The UKBA has stated that they are yet to reach any decision on this matter.

Panic among overseas students was prompted by an article in the Sunday Times last weekend that claimed Theresa May had already made the decision to withdraw the university's power to sponsor visas. The article read that ‘Theresa May, the home secretary, [was] notifying David Cameron of her decision this weekend. Her officials have identified so many failings at LMU that the authorities no longer trust it to ensure that its foreign students do not become illegal immigrants.’

However, a UKBA spokesperson would not confirm when the decision is due, reiterating: ‘We have not made a decision yet.’

Currently, London Metropolitan University has had its Highly Trusted Sponsor license suspended since 16 July. This means that at the moment it is not allowed to recruit any NEW international students to its courses but it does not affect any current students at the university.

However, if London Met ultimately loses its licence, thousands of existing overseas students at the university could be affected. According to the information published by the UKBA, if a university has its licence withdrawn, overseas students would only have permission to stay in the UK for 60 days or find another sponsor.

It is understood that the London Met University had issued around 300 confirmation letters before the license suspension was enforced.

Malcolm Gillies, London Met University's vice-chancellor, said that measures have been taken to find out how this information was passed to the press, as reported by the Huffington Post Students.  Gillies expressed: ‘To learn that we might have our HTS status revoked via a newspaper, with the panic that this can cause for thousands of students, is outrageous.’

The Vice-Chancellor has set up a helpline for worried London Met students. The number for this line is: +44 (0) 20 7133 4141

The reaction across the student media has been very strong. Many students have criticised the handling of this situation which, for many, reinforces the idea that the UK is ‘closing its doors’ to overseas students.


Useful links

London Met Student? Call University of East London dedicated hotline for advice and guidance on switching +44 (0)20 8223 3300

The National Union of Students has also published a briefing with the latest updates, you can check more info in their website.

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